You Must Now Be 21 or Older to Purchase Tobacco and Nicotine Products In Ohio

As of Oct. 17, Ohioans must be 21 to purchase cigarettes, cigars, vaping supplies and other tobacco products

click to enlarge A cigarette - Photo: Unsplash
Photo: Unsplash
A cigarette

On July 18, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed a budget bill increasing the legal age to buy cigarettes, cigars, vaping supplies and other tobacco products from 18 to 21 years old. This legislation comes after a national campaign, Tobacco 21, was sponsored by the Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation and aimed at preventing tobacco addiction in teenagers.

Taking effect 90 days after the budget was signed into law — as in today, Thursday, Oct. 17 — you must now be 21 to purchase tobacco products in Ohio. The state joins 17 others that have already raised the legal age to 21. 

“Research indicates that approximately 95% of adult smokers begin smoking before they turn 21,” said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine in a release from the Ohio Department of Health. “Increasing the age to 21 will reduce the chances of our young people starting to smoke and becoming regular smokers.”

The new law applies to the following, according to the ODH: 

  • cigarettes;
  • electronic smoking devices such as vapes, e-cigarettes and tanks;
  • cigars;
  • pipe tobacco;
  • chewing tobacco;
  • snuff;
  • snus;
  • dissolvable nicotine products;
  • filters, rolling papers, pipes, blunts or hemp wraps;
  • liquids used in electronic smoking devices whether or not they contain nicotine;
  • and vapor products — any component, part, or additive that is intended for use in an electronic smoking device, a mechanical heating element, battery, or electronic circuit and is used to deliver the product.

It does not apply to products used in nicotine replacement therapy to help smokers and others quit tobacco use.

The new law also requires stores to post signage saying it is illegal to sell tobacco and nicotine products to anyone under 21 and those who violate the law (clerks and/or the store owner) can face jail time and fines. 

Here's a little infographic from the ODH

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